Sunday, 3 May 2009

Of a life's dignity

By Pia Tafdrup

Only a single key remains
of a life’s dignity,
the key
to the last room must be tied
to the trouser pocket on a chain.
The wristwatch
my father forgets to wind,
the hands point
to ever and always.
Calendar leaves
imperceptibly send out
shortcuts to the dark,
if they're not turned by the nurses.
The radio,
which should preferably play Bach,
is fixed to the classical music station
by sticky tape,
so that the notes won’t run
seven programmes away.
Sealed up in the present I take
my dose of dreams ―
listen to the chaos
of long monologues that are never
trivial,
nakedly knowing
that the blood turns black.
That on this dizzy
earth
a deadline is given.

translated from Danish by David McDuff

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